Books I’ve Read in 2016

So these are the things that I’ve been reading so far this year. It’s interesting in a navel-gazing sort of way to look at this sort of list. What I’m getting out of this is that I am really digging Marko Kloos. I would definitely recommend checking out The Frontline Series, it’s some of the best Military Sci Fi out there!

Title                                                             Author                                            Date

  1. The Color of Magic                                  Terry Pratchett              7-Aug-2016
  2. I Am Legend                                              Richard Matheson          8-Jul-2016
  3. Death Masks                                              Jim Butcher                      1-Jul-2016
  4. Gods of Risk                                               James S.A. Corey            1-Jul-2016
  5. Bossypants                                                Tina Fey                          27-Jun-2016
  6. Agincourt                                                    Bernard Cornwell        15-Jun-2016
  7. The Power Of Habit                                 Charles Duhigg               9-Jun-2016
  8. Angles of Attack                                       Marko Kloos                20-May-2016
  9. Blind Man’s Bluff                                     Sherry Sontag             18-May-2016
  10. Lines of Departure                                   Marko Kloos                 11-May-2016
  11. Aurora                                                          Kim S Robinson           9-May-2016
  12. The God Engines                                       John Scalzi                     1-May-2016
  13. How to Write a Novella in 24 Hours   Andrew Mayne           27-Apr-2016
  14. There Will Always Be a Max                 Mike Underwood        22-Apr-2016
  15. Promise of Blood                                     Brian  McClellan         22-Apr-2016
  16. The Wright Brothers                              David McCullough      28-Mar-2016
  17. City of Blades                                            Robert Bennett            13-Mar-2016
  18. In the Garden of Beasts                         Erik Larson                    10-Mar-2016
  19. Summer Knight                                        Jim Butcher                   24-Feb-2016
  20. A Canticle for Leibowitz                        Walter M. Miller Jr.       8-Feb-2016
  21. Mockingbird                                              Chuck Wendig                5-Feb-2016
  22. Foundation                                                Isaac Asimov                 26-Jan-2016
  23. The Magicians                                          Lev Grossman                18-Jan-2016
  24. Terms of Enlistment                              Marko Kloos                    4-Jan-2016
  25. The Churn                                                  James S.A. Corey           1-Jan-2016

 

Moving On

This is the space where I am supposed to write about what it’s like leaving this house; Got to be honest. I don’t know how to do that.

Some things… They feel too big to tie into a few lines of text. I like to think I’m a writer, I should be able to do that, right?

But maybe I’m too close to it. I’ve heard that you don’t recognize the big moments in your life as they actually happen. It’s only with time that you see them for what they truly are, or were I guess. I suppose that is the situation here.

There’s been a lot that has happened in this place. My wife and I have spent most of our relationship in this home. We started out living in the basement of her parent’s home. Then into a small rental house, that we knew wouldn’t be enough for us. Not because it was small, but we needed a yard. We needed it for our little pain in the ass Yorkie terrier, because kids need room to throw a football with their friends (and me on occasion). Because we needed a place to have graduation parties. Because I needed a shed (and I didn’t even know it). Because I needed a place to make beer. Because I was going to start a homebrew club and we’d need a cool place for our Christmas party, and Big Brews.

But mostly we needed a place that was ours. A place that my daughter could paint the walls blue, because it matched her favorite pair of flip flops. And my son would have Bronco stripes on his wall. A place that we could make our own. A place where we could be the one thing that we really needed. A place that we could become a family.

We’ve seen burst pipes, countless leaks in the sprinkler system, and oh yeah that time the hot water heater died two days before our wedding. It was the hub of our kids’ lives going through high school, and where I got to know them best. Where we laughed and fought, and then made fun of each other because we couldn’t say something quite right.

So maybe I can say a thing or two about it. I Love this place. I always will. It will always be special to me. I am thankful that it gave us a place that we became a family, and a place that gave us shelter in tough times. There are bittersweet memories here certainly, but more good than bad, and that’s more than I can ask.

At the end of the day, it’s a bunch of drywall with a bad texture job, some torn up bits of carpet and pee stains on the concrete. But it’s more than that, in part because of those things, but mostly because we’ve worked at it. We’ve put our backs into it. We’ve labored in love to make it our place, this has been a safe harbor for us, our kids, and the pack of wild dogs that we have somehow seemed to gather. It’s become home to us.

The walls will be some one else’s next month, and I hope they treat them half as well as they’ve treated us. I hope the living room knows a quarter as much laughter as it has in our tenure. I hope they labor in love and find the happiness that we have had here. I hope it is as good of a home for them as it has been for us.

Brues Alehouse

Pueblo gets a bad rep at times for a variety of reasons. We’re not as hip as Denver.  We don’t have the beer that Colorado Springs does. We’re a tough bunch of blue collar kids that never quite grew up, and that last but might be true,  but on one front I think we might change some opinions. With two new breweries and several beer festivals in the area.  Beer in Pueblo’s on the rise.

If you’re looking for for  great pint and some great food come check out Brues Alehouse.

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They have a great list of house beers ranging from Pre-Prohibition Pilsner to an American IPA with kicking you square in the nose  with hop aroma.

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Flight of Nine House Beers.

And some damn good food

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Bratwurst with Rotkraut
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The Burger's Awesome

Hell At The North Pole

Memorandum:

To: Postmaster St. Simeon Peter

From: St. Nikolaos M. Klaus

Date: May 6th

Subject: Underworld Change of Address

Peter,

I am writing to you with haste, to avoid a potentially ugly situation. Please understand that I am attempting to keep the situation out of the spotlight. The last thing that I want is a general alarm sounded. It appears that the routing for the Damned Souls of Hell have been routed here.

The elves and I, as of this moment, have the situation under control. We have had to cease construction in the meantime. I am concerned about our ability to keep control for long, but I think that we can hold for a short time. This situation will need to be handled with haste to avoid any Divine interventions, if you follow.  

I would recommend rectifying the inter-dimensional channel between Earth and Hell, immediately. Following that a small herald of Angels to be released to the Pole to transport the Damned to the Lower Gate. I would prefer not involve the Seraphim, if possible. We have been lucky so far, the souls that we have received have been mild and easily corralled, and would not require a heavy force to move.

If we can proceed along that course, or something similar, then I think that this should be a minor situation, easily resolved; and allow us to get back to what we do best, making toys for good little girls and boys.

 

Warm Regards,

St. Nikolaos M. Klaus

Head Gift Giver

North Pole


 

Memorandum:

To: St. Nikolaos M. Klaus

From: Postmaster St. Simeon Peter

Date: May 17th

 

Subject: Re:Underworld Change of Address

Nikolaos,

I apologize for the delay and the inconvenience. I appreciate your candor in this matter, I assure that we’re doing everything to rectify the flow of souls to their right and appropriate domain.

In the meantime, as we work to rectify this situation, please follow protocol. These circumstances must indeed seem grim, but I assure you that if you follow the guidelines laid out in the Celestial Management Handbook, everything will be okay.

 

Warm Regards,
St. Peter
Postman & Trans-dimensional Controller
Main Entrance
Heaven


 

Memorandum:

To: Postmaster St. Simeon Peter

From: St. Nikolaos M. Klaus

Date: May 18th

 

Subject: Re:Re:Underworld Change of Address

Peter,

The faster you repair the channel to Hell, the better we all will be. We are following protocol with  our best efforts. However, the number of souls entering our small realm every day is staggering.

The elves began constructing holding cells for them all initially. The cells are similar to the pens constructed for the reindeer. The Damned began tunneling under the walls by midday and the bigger ones simply bowled over several pens.

We enlisted the help of some local residents. Yukon Cornelius is a bit of a local legend, he directed the elves and together they began digging ‘The Mines’ under the workshop. The ground there is solid and holds bars well in the bed rock. With the help of Cornelius’ companion, whom he refers to simply as Bumble a large snow ape of some sort, they began rounding up souls and placing them in the new cells. Even as they are imprisoning the souls, they continue to dig straight down below the Workshop, excavating more cells.

I do not like this business. It is changing the elves. They have always been a whimsical, unsullied by corruption. The men drink too much now, and some have even been witnessed smoking. The women leer at the damned, some of the younger ones gazes last too long.

If this situation is not rectified shortly, we will need reinforcements. The men coming out of the mines are exhausted, and will not be able to keep up their pace for long. We have also lost two weeks of production time to this mistake, so we need help.

Please send me a detail of your plan and time line as soon as possible. I understand that you can’t send it over insecure lines, but these are all that were provided to us. You could come and see the situation first hand, and deliver the details of the plan.

 

With Hope,
St. Nikolaos M. Klaus
Head Gift Giver
North Pole


Memorandum:

To: St. Nikolaos M. Klaus

From: Postmaster St. Simeon Peter

Date: June4th

 

Subject: Re:Re:Re:Underworld Change of Address

 

Nikolaos,

I assure you that we are doing everything that we can to bring this misunderstanding to a quick conclusion. Unfortunately, we live in dangerous times. There are talks of coup and of Lucifer raising an army against Heaven. We must remain vigilant. For all we know, this event might be his or one of his agents doings. In the light of this possibility, I must ask you to remain strong. Follow the guidance of the Handbook, and keep the Faith.

I do bear some good news though. Gabriel is being dispatched to come to your aid! He will be asked to oversee the Damned and the efforts of the elves. As you know, there exists only one greater mind regarding strategy and tactics of dealing with the Damned. He populated nearly an entire ring of Hell himself by delivering living souls to Perdition. I tell you now Nikolaos, you are indeed in good hands having the Archangel to watch over you.

W/r to time lines and plans, again I can not stress this enough. We can not discuss those over these lines of communication. Since there exists no other mode of communication with the North Pole than Post, we must continue using what we have available. I’m sure you understand. Gabriel will be able to fill you in completely on every detail that he can.

Keep up the good work, this will all be over soon. Get some rest, you’re going to need it to catch up on the remainder to the toys needed for Christmas.

Warm Regards,
St. Peter
Postman & Trans-dimensional Controller
Main Entrance
Heaven


Memorandum:

To: Postmaster St. Simeon Peter

From: St. Nikolaos M. Klaus

Date: June 6th

 

Subject:Update from Frozen Beaches of Hell

 

Peter,

The North has changed forever. You can not comprehend what has become of this place that was once a joyous and wonderful place. Things may never be the same here again.

Following your last correspondence, Mrs Klaus and I waited anxiously for the arrival of Gabriel. Obviously we have all heard of his exploits and felt that he would be the perfect individual to straighten out the predicament that we find ourselves in.

When he arrived, I met him at the gates myself. I began apprising him of the situation and what we had done to house and hold the Damned. He cared not a whit about the souls housed in The Mines or the steady stream of wicked souls pouring through the gates around him.

Instead, he seemed hell-bent on interrogating the elves. He is convinced that the situation was perpetrated by one of them. I spent the better part of his first day here trying to convince him that I have known every elf here for as long as modern humanity has existed, and that I vouched for them personally. After much harrying him incessantly, he agreed to tour the mines and to review our provisions.

That is when the real problems began. The Mines, being excavated by elves and Mr Cornelius (a man of uniquely miniature stature) have rather diminutive passages. Gabriel, the Archangel, being of unusually large stature was not able to pass within. He halted at the gate and indicated as much. We discussed it at length, and it appeared that he would have to suffice with diagrams and descriptions. As we were leaving, Gabriel overheard a taunt from one of the Damned in The Mines. He was so incensed that he proceeded throughthe entrance, and bodily destroyed it.

He pursued the unseen cat-caller, through several corridors meaning to punish and discipline the poor fool. As I mentioned before, the passages of The Mine are smaller than average due to the experience of the builders. Gabriel destroyed several hundred cells as he pursued the specter deeper inwards. Gabriel stopped his search after an exhaustive search, and destroying a great deal of the work that had been completed to that point. The source of the taunts was never found. Gabriel departed shortly afterward as well, leaving us to clean up his mess.

The elves and Mr Cornelius, began rounding up the damned and placing them into cells. They spent a full day in this task and thought that they had recaptured all of them. It would appear that a small band was able to hide somewhere in that dark hole we created undetected.  

This group killed all of the guards. They’re elves you see and not trained or bred for this sort of work, they had no chance. The marauders then released population of the damned from their cells.  By this time it was a larger group than we could contain.

Cornelius and several elves were killed in the assault. Cornelius’ snow ape, Bumbles, was grievously wounded. Rudolph, Blitzen, and Vixen were all killed. I fear they sit in the wood, in front of their fires feasting on them, even now.

The entire population has escaped, and the Damned continue to stream in. We have been over run, Peter. Immediate action must be taken on the part of Heaven. I beg you to send down Michael and his Seraphim. If you can not, or will not, I will have to take more drastic action to try to save us.

 

St. Nikolaos M. Klaus
Head Gift Giver
North Pole


 

[REJECTED: PORTAL INACCESSIBLE]

Memorandum:

To: St. Nikolaos M. Klaus

From: Postmaster St. Simeon Peter

Date: June 15th

Subject: Re:Update from Frozen Beaches of Hell

Nikolaos,

I understand your frustration. You’re in a difficult situation that’s gotten a little out of hand. You’ve been around this metaphysical sphere long enough to know these sort of things are going to happen.

However, there is no excuse to do something rash. To do something that might have irreparable consequences. Please consider that before you make any hasty decisions.

Now, with the nastiness behind us resolve to move fwd in good faith with the agreement that you don’t do anything dire, and we will do everyting in our power to fix this.

 

Warm Regards,
St. Peter
Postman & Trans-dimensional Controller
Main Entrance
Heaven


 

Gray ash swirled in the arctic winds, slooping sideways whipping past the band of men wrapped in white. Ash passed by them without touching them though, splitting on one side of the group and rejoining on the other, like a river splitting around a stone. Eddies swirled in their wake forming slate colored dust devils. St. Simeon Peter walked at the head of the group. His face without emotion, no joy or sorrow showing. But neither was there the serenity one would expect to see in the visage of a divine being. They trekked with care through the waste land of what had been a vast forest surrounding the Kingdom of the North. The home of St. Nikalaos, head gift giver, annointed by God to good girls and boys.

Through the swirl of ash something appeared, a glimmer. St. Peter’s browed lifted slightly as the gate of the North Pole edged grudgingly out of the gloom. The gate was built to reflect the delight and joy of those in the domain of Earth below. It was a structure that mirrored the best attributes of men, their craftsmanship, their ingenuity, virtue, and most of all hope. Hope for peace among men. Peace between Heaven and Hell could not exist if it did not first exist between them. It was a great source of pride to all those that hoped for a reckoning between Heaven and Hell, especially Peter.

His brow furrowed, and his lips drew out into a line as it came into the clear eddy that surrounded he and his Vanguard of Angels. The gates were closed and barred from the inside. The gate had taken many forms over the years. Heavy wooden beams with deep celtic carvings, intricate cast iron webbings, and even a sleek stainless steel facade in the last century. What Peter saw now was none of those things. It was a shambling tatter of rusted steel and scrap metal, that looked like it had been parced together with haste. Heavy welds dominated the steel with spikes facing outwards. Its weight was more than its bulk alone.

Heads adorned some of the spikes along the upper rim. And above on the frame, scrawled in red ABANDON ALL HOPE YE THAT ENTER HERE. It looked  as if it had not be applied with brush, but with a sloppy script that could have been the heel of a hand. In the center hung a single piece of golden parchment.

Peter approached and pulled free from its restraint.

The script was unfamiliar to him, but it was certainly of Nikalaos’ stock. He recognized as being his and his alone. It read

 

Peter,

We have closed the Pole. We have done everything that we could, but we were unable to contain the onslaught of the mutiny that followed the escape from Gabriel’s visit. Nearly everyone was dead. Cornelius, most of the elves, Bumbles, and all of my husband’s precious reindeer. He died in the mine. He went into pull out Cornelius, and was ambushed.

I did as he asked. He said that if anything were to happen to him, that I should release the Krampus. God have mercy on us, I did. And now we reap a harvest of despair. There will be no Christmas this year, Peter, and I am afraid any year that follows.

 

In Loving Honor of My Husband
Elsa Klaus
June 21st